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 Re: plastic vs wood top joint
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-02-06 18:24

The problem with PVC is it will develop a white powdery bloom on the surface due to the effects of light, but that can be removed through polishing once all the keys and pillars are removed. UV treated PVC should prevent that bloom. Other plastics used are delrin - only the weakest part of any oboe is the middle tenon, so plastic oboes are far more at risk of broken middle tenons compared to wooden oboes - best course of action is to leave the sockets unlined (as you don't need metal lined sockets on plastic instruments) and make the tenons considerably wider as a result to add more strength to them.

Plastic oboes are more costly to the maker due to both the higher cost of the plastic and the difficulties it poses during manufacture - wood will machine and leave dust, whereas plastics often need lower cutting speeds to reduce heat build-up which will cause the joint to bow between centres and they need constant supervision to ensure the swarf which comes off in a single strand doesn't wrap itself around the joint during turning which can end up melting the joint if it gets caught up with the tool post or cutter. Pillar threads are much easier to strip when fitting pillars and cutting the bedplaces and toneholes has to be done at slower speeds to prevent melting or distortion.

After all that, a plastic oboe will need play between key barrels and pillars as already mentioned, but on the whole they will be far more efficient due to plastic having no pores or vessels in the material that can cause small leaks on wooden oboes which will need sealing once discovered or the joint discarded if the flaws are significant. Plastic in that respect has less waste as the plastic rods should all be uniform.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

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 Topics Author  Date
 plastic vs wood top joint  new
Phil Freihofner 2017-02-02 03:04 
 Re: plastic vs wood top joint  new
Chris P 2017-02-02 03:45 
 Re: plastic vs wood top joint  new
veggiemusician 2017-02-02 20:05 
 Re: plastic vs wood top joint  new
heckelmaniac 2017-02-05 23:21 
 Re: plastic vs wood top joint  new
Chris P 2017-02-06 18:24 

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